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Roman villa 300m south of Long Shaw

A Scheduled Monument in Loughton, Essex

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Latitude: 51.656 / 51°39'21"N

Longitude: 0.0941 / 0°5'38"E

OS Eastings: 544949.475499

OS Northings: 197326.536489

OS Grid: TQ449973

Mapcode National: GBR P1.BCJ

Mapcode Global: VHHMS.LM2V

Entry Name: Roman villa 300m south of Long Shaw

Scheduled Date: 13 December 1977

Last Amended: 20 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008896

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24863

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Loughton

Built-Up Area: Loughton

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Loughton, St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes a Roman villa situated just below the crest of a rise in
the chalky boulder clay overlying the London Clay. The gentle south east
facing slope runs down towards the River Roding 1km away.
The location of the building has been identified from a concentration of
building and occupation material recovered from fieldwalking, including Roman
roof tile, pottery and quern stone fragments. The main concentration covers an
area of c.120m north west to south east by 70m north east to south west.
Foundations and floor layers are believed to survive in the north west part of
this area.
The site was originally noted in 1976 during the excavation of a crashed
plane. A surface collection of material was then undertaken. In addition to
Roman material, some Iron Age pottery and Mesolithic flint tools were also

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Romano-British villas were extensive rural estates at the focus of which were
groups of domestic, agricultural and occasionally industrial buildings. The
term "villa" is now commonly used to describe either the estate or the
buildings themselves. The buildings usually include a well-appointed dwelling
house, the design of which varies considerably according to the needs, taste
and prosperity of the occupier. Most of the houses were partly or wholly
stone-built, many with a timber-framed superstructure on masonry footings.
Roofs were generally tiled and the house could feature tiled or mosaic floors,
underfloor heating, wall plaster, glazed windows and cellars. Many had
integral or separate suites of heated baths. The house was usually accompanied
by a range of buildings providing accommodation for farm labourers, workshops
and storage for agricultural produce. These were arranged around or alongside
a courtyard and were surrounded by a complex of paddocks, pens, yards and
features such as vegetable plots, granaries, threshing floors, wells and
hearths, all approached by tracks leading from the surrounding fields. Villa
buildings were constructed throughout the period of Roman occupation, from the
first to the fourth centuries AD. They are usually complex structures occupied
over several hundred years and continually remodelled to fit changing
circumstances. They could serve a wide variety of uses alongside agricultural
activities, including administrative, recreational and craft functions, and
this is reflected in the considerable diversity in their plan. The least
elaborate villas served as simple farmhouses whilst, for the most complex, the
term "palace" is not inappropriate. Villa owners tended to be drawn from a
limited elite section of Romano-British society. Although some villas belonged
to immigrant Roman officials or entrepreneurs, the majority seem to have been
in the hands of wealthy natives with a more-or-less Romanised lifestyle, and
some were built directly on the sites of Iron Age farmsteads. Roman villa
buildings are widespread, with between 400 and 1000 examples recorded
nationally. The majority of these are classified as `minor' villas to
distinguish them from `major' villas. The latter were a very small group of
extremely substantial and opulent villas built by the very wealthiest members
of Romano-British society. Minor villas are found throughout lowland Britain
and occasionally beyond. Roman villas provide a valuable index of the rate,
extent and degree to which native British society became Romanised, as well as
indicating the sources of inspiration behind changes of taste and custom. In
addition, they serve to illustrate the agrarian and economic history of the
Roman province, allowing comparisons over wide areas both within and beyond
Britain. As a very diverse and often long-lived type of monument, a
significant proportion of the known population are identified as nationally

As confirmed by partial excavation, the Roman villa south of Long Shaw
survives well below the ploughsoil. Only a small part of the site has been
excavated leaving the greater part of the buried remains of the buildings and
associated deposits and structures undisturbed. These deposits will contain
information about the construction and layout of the villa and its associated
buildings, whilst the associated artefactual information, and any
environmental deposits which may survive at the base of the sequence, will add
to our understanding of the life-style and economy of the inhabitants and of
the landscape in which they lived. The evidence from the site is valuable for
understanding Roman rural settlement in this part of south east England.

Source: Historic England


Essex Sites and Monuments Record 139, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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